By MICHAEL RODRIGUEZ
Authorities from multiple law enforcement agencies on Tuesday deployed officers, Special Weapons and Tactics units, armored vehicles and a helicopter to the scene of a standoff at a San Benito hotel, where a man reportedly barricaded himself and allegedly threatened to shoot police.
An investigation conducted by the Precinct 5 Cameron County Constable’s Office led authorities to the Super 8 hotel in San Benito, located off Expressway 83 Frontage and Paso Real, where they believed Joseph Paul Vargas, 34, was hiding. According to Operations Chief Martin Morales Jr. of the San Benito Police Department, Vargas was wanted out of the Constable’s Office on a felony warrant.
It’s been reported that Vasquez was under investigation by the Constable’s Office for allegedly impersonating a legal associate while providing advice to incarcerated individuals.
“They (Pct. 5 Constable’s deputies) found out he was here, so they came to serve the warrant,” Morales said while at the scene of the standoff, adding that the incident occurred around noon on Tuesday. “But then he (Vasquez) told them that he had a gun and threatened the officers, so they backed off.”
The standoff ended just after 7 p.m. that evening when SWAT officers stormed into the hotel room and took Vasquez into custody – ending several hours of negotiation.
Agencies on-hand at the scene of the standoff – where press, motorists, customers of a nearby business and local residents gathered – included the SBPD, the San Benito CISD Police Department, the Pct. 5 Constable’s Office as well as the Cameron County Sheriff’s Office, Texas Department of Public Safety and the U.S. Border Patrol.
What’s more, Morales said negotiators from multiple agencies worked together in negotiating with Vasquez in an effort to end the standoff without incident.
It was unclear as of press time whether Vasquez was indeed armed; however, Morales said the suspect “threatened that he has a firearm and already threatened an officer that he’s going to shoot him.”